“ann arbor news” on youtube

I don’t think we’ve talked about it here before, but the “Ann Arbor News” has been experimenting with video blogging. For the most part, their video posts are sports-centric, but they’ve been playing around with the idea of a daily video update, and a few other things. It would probably be really easy to poke fun at the delivery of these reporters who never imagined that they’d be in front of the camera, but I think it’s got potential, especially with the growing local presence of the video iPod and iPhone, and I give them credit for trying something new. I particularly think their weekend culture report (see video above) may have a future, if they can keep up the support internally while they grow their audience and get more comfortable with the format.

A lot of us give the local papers shit for not doing enough hard-hitting investigative reporting, while, at the same time, not supporting them with our subscription dollars. Their audiences are falling away as internet connectivity grows and paper costs steadily increase. The cards, it would seem, are stacked against them, and it’s completely understandable that local papers would, faced by these realities, constrict coverage, rely more on syndicated material, etc. Given all of that, I like that the “Ann Arbor News” is beginning to explore other alternatives. It’s better, I think, than the alternative. Hopefully, if they find an audience, they may even start investing a bit to see their print archive preserved online.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of hearing me rant about this in the past, the “Ann Arbor News” articles posted online typically disappear after just a few weeks, leaving no trace. And that’s my biggest problem with the “News.” At a time when our region is struggling so desperately to make a name for itself nationally, and attract people, investment and business, I think it really ties our hands when the local paper of record doesn’t archive its stories and make them available online. They’ve published quite a few really great pieces over the years on some of our local companies, and they’ve covered some really important events, and it bothers me that those pieces don’t live on after the fact. I’m sure there are people around the country every day searching for information about innovative local companies like VG Kids and events like the Shadow Art Fair, and I think we’re missing a huge opportunity to build the brand of the Ann Arbor Region… Here’s another incentive for them. When they start keeping a serious online archive, I’ll buy a subscription. And I bet I’m not the only one.

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7 Comments

  1. egpenet
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I believe mlive.com, which is state-wide, has a digital library that keeps things archived longer.

    I had hoped the Courier could keep things going and growing … and they still may. Then, there was a plan to get another city paper up and running, which failed. So, I’ve kept my A2 News subscription … and must say that their Ypsi focus has broadened recently.

    The recnt editorial chastising the township for its “town center” concept was insightful and on-target.

    So, we muddle through it all.

    Does EMU’s paper or its EMUtalk blog archive its articles and blogs … I hope so.

    In these days of funky politics and even funkier economic times … silence is NOT golden.

  2. Bill
    Posted December 5, 2007 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    M-Live does not archive things for very long at all, Ed.

  3. egpenet
    Posted December 5, 2007 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    What about Ypsi on You-Tube, huh?

  4. Posted December 5, 2007 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the kind words regarding the News’ video efforts. They are doing a great job over there and working hard to diversify the ways they tell stories online. I will be sure to pass along your comments to them.

    The News, along with other MLive papers, blog most of their top stories daily, including links to related resources and stories and multimedia. One good think about this is the blogs archive the top stories by the News. You can subscribe to the newsblog via RSS (http://feeds.feedburner.com/annarbornews-mlive)and keep stories as long as you want in your news reader.

    Great idea about the coverage of the shadow art fair. I attended the event and think it would have been great to have some coverage (artist interviews, photos, etc.) of more events like that.

    We are always looking at ways to expand the community’s voice on MLive. If you have any recommendations for bloggers who could cover Ypsi/Ann Arbor community news and events, please have them email us at blogs@mlive.com. You can see we already link to several community blogs at http://www.mlive.com/blogs/.

    Shawn Smith
    Senior News Producer, MLive.com

  5. Mark H.
    Posted December 6, 2007 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    EMUTalk.org has an archive of all its postings, going back to when it was started about 14 months ago. It’s organized by categories and original month of postings. I am in no way responsible for it, but the EMU genuis professor Steve Krause, who started and runs EMUTalk, is.

  6. mark
    Posted December 8, 2007 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Someone in the audience just reminded me of a letter that he sent the last time I was ranting about the “Ann Arbor News” archives. Here it is:

    Re: pasting entire text of articles versus linking as in the police shooting story

    MLive.com is so very sad.

    Fortunately, the Ann Arbor District Library now has a ‘permanent’ electronic archive of Ann Arbor News articles starting from 2004 (coinciding I think with the end of their ‘clipping file’–a manually kept system of articles cut by hand out of the paper and stored in 3-ring binders).

    It’s searchable in the convenience of your own home via this link:
    http://www.aadl.org/research/browse

    Downside:
    1. You have to register (but I don’t think you need a card number even though it seems like you do when you go through the registration process … takes less than a minute)
    2. There’s a ‘lag’ between publication and archiving, up to 14 days, although they’re currently just one day behind.
    3. The registration aspect means that it’s not a solution for just linking to the story.
    4. The A2 News seems not to supply some o the taxinomic information for each story like ‘Section’ to the nationwide service this whole deal runs through.

    Upside: At least you can go back and rummage through the old newspapers electronically in some fashion or other… which might be useful if you’re interested in exploring how the News has covered police issues in the past. At this point it doesn’t go that far back, but at least it’s a start.

  7. Jordan
    Posted December 10, 2007 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Don’t make fun of me! I was my usual unkempt self…. And my posture is terrible.

    We’ll be doing the entertainment report every weekend, so check back. This week my hair will look better and I will sit up straight.

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